A potent boxing team made up of fighters from unique pathways and led by David Nyika has been named to represent New Zealand at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games next month.
Among them is 34-year-old Troy 'The Trojan' Garton, a fashion graduate and television actress.
These days, she’s a fitness trainer and is off to her second games, but she’ll never forget her first one four years ago when she competed with a serious knee injury and won bronze.
"When it happened and they confirmed I’d torn my ACL, it was like, well I’m not giving up now, I’ve worked too hard. The power of the mind is actually an amazing thing," she said.
Also returning to the boxing team from four years ago is Nyika who is aiming for a record three commonwealth games golds in a row.
The Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist is excited at the opportunity to represent his nation on the big stage once again.
"It’s a real honour to be selected for another Commonwealth Games," Nyika said.
"The Commonwealth Games are where I first made my mark, fighting as an 18-year-old in Glasgow, I always enjoy them, it’s got a really nice feel and there’s always some quality competition as well."
Garton and Nyika are the only members of the team with Commonwealth Games experience, with squad made of young and ambitious fighters ready to stamp their mark.
Under 57 kilo featherweight Erin Walsh out of Ireland came here in 2015, but she has only just qualified to represent the Kiwis.
"The rush was to get residency, then we had to quickly apply for citizenship, then we needed to get a passport, we did that within recording breaking time, I became a citizen four days ago and I got my passport two days ago," she said.
Super heavyweight La’uila Mau’u has been selected after missing out on qualifying for Tokyo.
He competed at the 2020 Asia Oceania Olympic Qualifiers, beating his Tajikistan opponent but went down to Australian Justis Huni who went on to place second at the competition.
This selection is a second chance to show the world what he can do.
"They say 80%'s mindset in boxing, a lot of it was mindset, I feel now it’s like redemption for myself," Mau’u said.
Mark Keddell from Boxing New Zealand believes the team is ready for success.
"This is a really strong team and we know we’re capable of some great results in Birmingham."
The Birmingham boxing competition will be held from July 29th to August 7th.
NZ Boxing team:
• David Nyika – Men’s U92kg
• Erin Walsh – Women’s U57kg
• Wendell Stanley – Men’s U71kg
• Onyx Lye – Men’s U80kg
• Troy Garton – Women’s U60kg
• Ariane Nicholson – Women’s U70kg
• Uila Mau'u – Men’s 92+kg
• Alex Mukuka – Men’s U57kg
*Emile Richardson has been selected as a reserve in the Men’s U75kg division.